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7 Parenting Tricks That Give Your Kids A Happy Childhood

7 Parenting Tricks That Give Your Kids A Happy Childhood

Bringing your kids up to be happy and stable is the most important job you can have as a parent. Instilling happiness into a child means cultivating a mindset that allows a child to think positively and have experiences that back up a sense of wellbeing.

There are many parenting tricks that can help your children lead happier and mentally healthier lives, and there are some countries that come out on top when it comes to overall happiness. So what exactly are they doing right?

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Denmark and other Scandinavian countries such as Norway and Sweden continually win the yearly “happiest country to live in” contest, and they have a culture that helps to ensure children are brought up happy and content. This is mainly down to “hygge” — moments of set family time that Scandinavians practice throughout their lives. Here I’ll explain more about hygge and how it can help produce 7 successful habits of parenting we can use that go towards raising happier children.

1. Create Set “We” Times Together

As parents, we all have busy lives, but hygge, a tradition in Scandinavian culture, basically translates as having cosy time together. Originally carved out of the deep, cold winters back when families spent time keeping warm and keeping each other company, the concept of hygge is still prevalent today and is seen as an important cultivator in family happiness. Think of it as a form of mindfulness spent together as a family unit.

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Putting special time aside each week to spend together, such as going for walks, a BBQ, or a special family dinner, creates a habit of “we” time. With computers, TV, and video games luring kids away, along with busy, hectic lives for parents means it’s even more crucial to make this together time a way of cultivating happiness for children and the whole family.

2. Lessen The Negativity

This is probably an obvious one. After all, you can’t cultivate positivity from constant negative environments. However, while it’s not always easy to create positive vibes all the time (we’re human after all!), it is beneficial to cut down on complaining, arguing, and general negative talk. When creating these special times where you gather together, make sure it’s negative-free and purely there for enjoyment and connection between you all. The aim is to create a safe, positive space that children will respond well to and that will teach them the importance of having fun together, leaving negativity at the door.

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3. Create A Cosy Atmosphere

It’s traditional that the family time of hygge is cosy. Coziness emulates togetherness in Norway and Denmark, and this could involve cooking a hearty meal together, renting a cabin somewhere, or getting out and going somewhere beautiful away from the TV, computers, and video games. Creating a cosy space encourages human connection without the modern distractions that families face, even if just for a few hours.

4. Play Games And Have Fun

Remember the good old days of board games with the rain coming down outside and paddling pools in the summer? With video games causing more solitude from the family unit, it’s crucial that spending time together is fun and playful. Play is a wonderful way for children to laugh, learn, and be happy, and hygge creates the opportunity to use this as a bonding session. It’s all about enjoying and getting the most out of the present moment — a good habit to have when it comes to creating happiness in our lives.

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5. Share Positive Stories Together

Another way of cultivating happiness and bonding is sharing uplifting stories from your past with each other. This gives the opportunity for laughter, and laughter is known to improve health and boost happiness. It’s also a great way of allowing your children to get to know you better and teaching them the importance and benefits of storytelling. Again, it’s all about bonding and creating the kind of environment that children will want to come back to again and again.

6. Cultivate A Sense of Teamwork

Teamwork teaches a child not only a sense of responsibility, but allows them to see how helping out as a team makes life a whole lot easier. Coming together to cook, clean, and clear up — basically setting up the hygge experience — gives a child the opportunity to be an intrinsic part of hygge themselves. Contributing will become a habit for even the most reluctant of kids once they see how they reap the benefits that hygge provides.

7. Don’t Put Too Much Pressure On “Family Time”

While it’s really important to put time aside for the family to get together as a unit and have a positive experience, we all need our alone time. Children can get frustrated and so can parents — it’s all natural. That’s why there should be a time limit on the hygge time you spend together. It’s equally important to have the experience and then have your own individual time away. Spending too much time together can start to cause friction and take away from the positive experience you get when you do have these moments together.

Try introducing the concept of hygge to encourage a bit more happiness and family mindfulness into yours and your children’s lives. By getting into this routine, you are teaching your children habits that they will eventually pass on to their own children, and what a lovely thought that is!

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Jenny Marchal

A passionate writer who loves sharing about positive psychology.

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Last Updated on August 22, 2019

14 Helpful Tips for Single Parents: How to Stay Sane While Doing it All

14 Helpful Tips for Single Parents: How to Stay Sane While Doing it All

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, over 27% of children under the age of 18 are living with a single parent.[1] That’s over 1/4th of the U.S. population.There is a common misconception that children who grow up in single parent homes are not as successful as children living in two-parent homes.

One crucial detail that was often left out of studies when comparing single and two-parent homes was the stability of the household. There is a correlation between family structure and family stability, but this study shows that children who grow up in stable single-parent homes do as well as those in married households in terms of academic abilities and behavior.

But providing stability is easier said than done. With only one adult to act as a parent, some tasks are inherently more challenging. However, there are a few helpful things you can do to make the parenting journey a little easier for yourself and stay sane while doing it.

1. Don’t Neglect Self-Care

Before anything else can be done, you must be caring for your own needs adequately. Only when you are feeling well-rested and healthy can you be at your best for your children.

Many parents tend to put their kids’ needs first and their owns last, but that will result in a never-ending cycle of exhaustion and feelings of inadequacy. Make time to eat regularly and healthfully, get plenty of rest, and squeeze in exercise whenever you can. Even a short walk around the neighborhood will help your body get much-needed movement and fresh air.

Your children depend on you, and it’s up to you to make sure that you are well-equipped and ready to take on that responsibility.

2. Join Forces with Other Single Parents

At times, it may seem like you’re the only person who knows what it’s like to be a single parent. However, the statistics say that there are many others who know exactly what you’re going through.

Find single parents locally, through your kid’s school, extracurricular activities, or even an app. There are also numerous online communities that can offer support and advice, through Facebook or sites like Single Mom Nation.

Although single moms make up the majority of single parents, there are more than 2.6 million single dads in the U.S. A great way to connect is through Meetup. Other single parents will more than happy to arrange babysitting swaps, playdates, and carpools.

Join forces in order to form mutually beneficial relationships.

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3. Build a Community

In addition to finding support with other single parents, also build a community comprised of families of all different types. Rather than focus solely on the single parent aspect of your identity, look for parents and kids who share other things in common.

Join a playgroup, get plugged in at a church, or get to know the parents of the kids involved in the same extracurricular activities. Having a community of a variety of people and families will bring diversity and excitement into your and your kids’ lives.

4. Accept Help

Don’t try to be a superhero and do it all yourself. There are probably people in your life who care about you and your kids and want to help you. Let them know what types of things would be most appreciated, whether it’s bringing meals once a week, helping with rides to school, or giving you time to yourself.

There is no shame in asking for help and accepting assistance from loved ones. You will not be perceived as weak or incompetent. You are being a good parent by being resourceful and allowing others to give you a much-needed break.

5. Get Creative with Childcare

Raising a child on a single income is a challenge, with the high cost of daycares, nannies, and other conventional childcare services. More affordable options are possible if you go a less traditional route.

If you have space and live in a college town, offer a college student housing in exchange for regular childcare. Or swap kids with other single parents so that your kids have friends to play with while the parents get time to themselves.

When I was younger, my parents had a group of five family friends, and all of the children would rotate to a different house each day of the week, during the summer months. The kids would have a great time playing with each other, and the parents’ job becomes a lot easier. That’s what you would call a win-win situation.

6. Plan Ahead for Emergencies

As a single parent, a backup plan or two is a must in emergency situations. Make a list of people you know you can call in a moment’s notice. There will be times in which you need help, and it’s important to know ahead of time who you can rely on.

Look into whether or not your area offers emergency babysitting services or a drop-in daycare. Knowing who will be able to care for your child in the event of an emergency can relieve one potential source of anxiety in stressful situations.

7. Create a Routine

Routines are crucial for young children because knowing what to expect gives them a semblance of control. This is even more important when in a single parent home.

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If the child travels between homes or has multiple caretakers, life can seem extremely chaotic and unpredictable. Establish a routine and schedule for your child as much as possible. This can include bedtime, before/after school, chores, meal times, and even a weekend routine.

Having a routine does not mean things cannot change. It is merely a default schedule to fall back on when no additional events or activities are going on. When your children know what to expect, they will be less resistant because they know what to expect, and days will run much more smoothly.

8. Be Consistent with Rules and Discipline

If your child has multiple caretakers, such as another parent, grandparent, or babysitter, communicate clearly on how discipline will be handled. Talk to your ex, if you are sharing custody, as well as any other caretakers about the rules and the agreed-upon approach to discipline.

When a child realizes that certain rules can be bent with certain people, he/she will use it to their advantage, causing additional issues with limits, behavior, and discipline down the road.

This article may help you to discipline your child better:

How to Discipline a Child (The Complete Guide for Different Ages)

9. Stay Positive

Everyone has heard the saying, “Mind over matter.” But there really is so much power behind your mentality. It can change your perspective and make a difficult situation so much better.

Your kids will be able to detect even the smallest shift in your attitude. When the responsibilities of motherhood are overwhelming, stay focused on the positive things in your life, such as your friends and family. This will produce a much more stable home environment.

Maintain your sense of humor and don’t be afraid to be silly. Look towards the future and the great things that are still to come for you and your family. Rediscover and redefine your family values.

10. Move Past the Guilt

In a single parent home, it is impossible to act as both parents, regardless of how hard you try. Let go of the things that you cannot do as a single parent, and instead, think of the great things you ARE able to provide for your children.

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Leave behind the notion that life would be easier or better with two parents. This is simply not true. There is a multitude of pros and cons to all family dynamics, and the one you are providing for your kids now is the one that they need.

Don’t get bogged down by guilt or regret. Take control of your life and be the best parent you can by being present and engaged with them on a daily basis.

11. Answer Questions Honestly

Your kids may have questions about why their home situation is different from many of their friends. When asked, don’t sugarcoat the situation or give them an answer that is not accurate.

Depending on their age, take this opportunity to explain the truth of what happened and how the current circumstances came about. Not all families have two parents, whether that is due to divorce, death, or whatever else life brings.

Don’t give more detail than necessary or talk badly about the other parent. But strive to be truthful and honest. Your children will benefit more from your candor than a made-up story.

12. Treat Kids Like Kids

In the absence of a partner, it can be tempting to rely on your children for comfort, companionship, or sympathy. But your kids are not equipped to play this role for you.

There are many details within an adult relationship that children are not able to understand or process, and it will only cause confusion and resentment.

Do not take out your anger on your kids. Separate your emotional needs from your role as a mother. If you find yourself depending on your kids too much, look for adult friends or family members that you can talk to about your issues.

13. Find Role Models

Find positive role models of the opposite sex for your child. It’s crucial that your child does not form negative associations with an entire gender of people.

Find close friends or family members that would be willing to spend one-on-one time with your kids. Encourage them to form meaningful relationships with people that you trust and that they can look up to.

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Role models can make a huge difference in the path that a child decides to take, so be intentional about the ones that you put in your kids’ lives.

14. Be Affectionate and Give Praise

Your children need your affection and praise on a daily basis. Engage with your kids as often as possible by playing with them, going on outings, and encouraging open dialogue.

Affirm them in the things that they are doing well, no matter how small. Praise their efforts, rather than their achievements. This will inspire them to continue to put forth hard work and not give up when success is not achieved.

Rather than spending money on gifts, spend time and effort in making lasting memories.

Final Thoughts

Being a single parent is a challenging responsibility to take on. Without the help of a partner to fall back on, single parents have a lot more to take on.

However, studies show that growing up in a single parent home does not have a negative effect on achievement in school. As long as the family is a stable and safe environment, kids are able to excel and do well in life.

Use these tips in order to be a reliable and capable parent for your kids, while maintaining your own well-being and sanity.

More Resources About Parenting

Featured photo credit: Eye for Ebony via unsplash.com

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